EC To Subject Electoral Officials To Oath Swearing

Temporary election officials who will be recruited by the Electoral Commission (EC) to supervise this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections will be made to swear an oath before a judge, Mr. Stephen Opoku-Mensah, Western Regional Director of the EC, has said.

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Mr. Opoku-Mensah said this at a capacity-building workshop for media practitioners in Takoradi to enhance their knowledge of election reportage.

The event, which was organized by the EC and funded by the European Union, also provided a platform for the Commission to highlight some salient issues in the C.I 94, the legislation guiding this year’s elections.

Mr Opoku-Mensah said the Commission had learnt lessons from the 2012 general election during which some temporary election officials behaved unprofessionally.

“As a result, the Commission has decided to let them swear an oath to comply with the electoral laws so that if any of them falls foul of the law, he or she would be dealt with severely.”

He said the presiding officer, returning officers, reference list officer, verification officer, as well as the presidential and parliamentary ballot issuer would all swear an oath that would bind them to abide by the rules and regulations governing the elections.

The PNDC Law 284 stipulates that any election official found culpable of the election law would pay a fine of 500 penalty units (equivalent to GHc6, 000) and be convicted to two years’ imprisonment or both and blacklisted from engaging in any electoral management activities for the next five years.

Mr. Opoku-Mensah stated that, for this year’s elections to be free, fair and successful, it behoved on the media, political parties, the security agencies, election management body, election monitors and observers and all other interest groups to play their roles efficiently and effectively.

In this regard, he urged the media to avoid any form of sensational reportage and rather disseminate accurate information on the elections to the public to ensure peace before, during and after the polls.

“Our doors are always open to clarify any issues bordering on the elections because the media play a crucial role in ensuring a successful election.

“The media can make or unmake the elections and therefore we see you as one of our major partners,” he stressed.

The Regional EC Boss said the electoral laws allowed both manual and electronic verification and, therefore, urged all eligible voters to feel free to exercise their franchise on December 7.

Mr. Godwin Tawiah Okley, Deputy Regional Director of the EC, who took participants through electoral offences, warned individuals and group of persons planning to cause mayhem or snatching ballot boxes to revise their notes because the law would not spare anyone arrested in connection with such offences.

He refuted claims that the EC was scheming to rig the elections in favour of the ruling party, adding that all the political parties had their representatives at the printing house during the printing of ballot papers.

Source: GNA/NewsGhana.com.gh

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